Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien nav lang search
Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien
Discursive and material dimensions of the digital transformation: Perspectives from and on Japan



Online, Keynotes: Sophia University (Building No. 10, Kodo Lecture Hall), Theatre: Half Moon Hall (Shimokitazawa)

Organizers & Sponsors

German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ Tokyo)
Nippon Institute for Research Advancement (NIRA)
German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo
Sophia University, Graduate School of Global Studies
University of Europe for Applied Sciences

Registration Info

Registration for this event is no longer possible.

DIJ Mailing List

Please subscribe below to stay informed about our research activities, events & publications:

    Choose Subscription:

    = required field

    Discursive and material dimensions of the digital transformation: Perspectives from and on Japan

    September 11 - September 13, 2023

    Photos © 2023 Jonathan Webb – All Rights Reserved; except for bottom row, 2nd from right © DIJ.

    Workshop Report (PDF)

    Concept, idea, and coordination:

    Dr. Harald Kümmerle and Dr. Celia Spoden (DIJ Tokyo), Prof. Dr. Jiré Emine Gözen (University of Europe for Applied Sciences Berlin/University of Bayreuth), Prof. Dr. Noriyuki Yanagawa (University of Tokyo)

    Based on perspectives from and on Japan, this workshop dealt with the discursive and material dimensions of the digital transformation. In the research literature on the digital transformation, robots and data are often discussed separately. This workshop brought these topics together and considered algorithms, AI, and infrastructure as potentially connecting approaches and analytical concepts.
    On the first day, we explored visions, practices, and narratives in politics, research and development, and science fiction related to robots, artificial intelligence, and algorithms. The second day was dedicated to the use of data and the development of data infrastructures with regard to their socio-cultural, economic, and historical situation. Here, too, AI and algorithms function as constitutive elements. On both days, eurocentrisms and (self-)orientalizations were identified and questioned.
    On the third day, the results of the two thematic days were compiled and related. Based on the discussions of the previous days, we looked for gaps, fractures, and the in-between of the material and discursive constructions of robots, data, AI, algorithms, and infrastructures from a transdisciplinary perspective to think about possibilities of employing them productively. We drew on approaches from media and cultural studies, anthropology, the history of science, and science and technology studies.


    Monday, 11 September 2023

    Robots and AI

    10:00-10:30 Greetings

    Harald Kümmerle, Celia Spoden, Jiré Emine Gözen, Noriyuki Yanagawa

    10:30-10:45 Introduction

    Jiré Emine Gözen (University of Europe for Applied Sciences Berlin/University of Bayreuth): Introduction to the 1st session “Envisioning Future Societies: Robots and AI in Science Fiction, the Lab, and Reality”

    10:45-12:15 Session 1 (Webinar)                            

    Gentiane Venture (University of Tokyo): “How do autonomous robots transform our present and future societies? Reflections on societal challenges from the lab”

    Hirotaka Osawa (Keio University) & Yashima Yugen (writer): “Sci-Fi prototyping and the AI alignment problem”

    James Wright (Queen Mary University of London): “Growing gaps between sci-fi visions and material realities of digital transformation in Japan”

    discussion (not public)

    13:45-14:00 Introduction

    Celia Spoden (DIJ Tokyo): Introduction to the 2nd session “Sociocultural Practices on Situating the Self and the Other: Robots with Heart, Virtual Humans and Matter with Soul”

    14:00-16:00 Session 2 (Webinar)              

    Daniel White (University of Cambridge): “Making Emotional Connections with Robots and AI in Japan’s Digital Transformation”

    Kerry McInerney (University College London): “From ‘Japan Panic’ to ‘Chinese Peril’: The Shifting Location of the Techno-Orient in the US”

    Kojiro Honda (Kanazawa Medical University): “Japanese Robot Culture and Ancient Shintoism”

    Chihyung Jeon (Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology / University of Tokyo): “Alive again, digitally: Turning dead persons into virtual humans in South Korea”    

    discussion (not public)                               

    18:00-20:30 Keynotes & Discussion (location: Sophia University, Building No. 10, Kodo Lecture Hall)

    18:00 Doors open

    18:15  Welcome addresses

    Keynotes (in English with simultaneous translation into Japanese)

    18:30 Shoko Suzuki (Kyoto University): “Rediscovering ‘Glocal’ Cultural Resources for the Digital Future”

    19:15 Shintaro Miyazaki (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): “Counter-Dancing Digitality! Practising CommOnistic Cooperativity”

    20:00  Discussion

    Tuesday, 12 September 2023

    Data and Infrastructures

    10:00-10:15 Introduction

    Harald Kümmerle (DIJ Tokyo): Introduction to the 3rd session “Algorithms, Data, and the In-between: Fashion Culture and Transnational Science”

    10:15-11:45 Session 3 (Webinar)                           

    Yoko Fujishima (Ritsumeikan University): “Fashion Culture Created by Algorithmic Recommendations: How can a systematic understanding of fashion be formed on social networking sites and e-commerce sites?”

    Rebecca Carlson (Toyo University): “Infrastructuring (trans)national bioscience: from humans to cells to code in a Japanese laboratory”

    Tobias Matzner (University of Paderborn): “The co-constitution of machine learning algorithms and training data”

    discussion (not public)

    13:15-13:30 Introduction

    Noriyuki Yanagawa (University of Tokyo): Introduction to the 4th session “Data Policy & Agile Governance”

    13:30-15:00 Session 4 (Webinar)                                            

    Chizuru Suga (METI): Insights

    Masakazu Masujima (Mori Hamada & Matsumoto Law Firm): Perspective

    Tatsuhiko Inatani (Kyoto University): Analysis

    discussion (not public)

    17:45-20:00 Theatre & Discussion

    ONE – A performance about artificial intelligence by Sabrina Strehl & Kathrin Diele (Berlin) at Half Moon Hall (Shimokitazawa)

    17:45     Doors open 

    18:15     Performance  

    19:15     Discussion

    Wednesday, 13 September 2023

    Cross-topic working groups

    10:00-13:00 DAWN Avatar Robot Café (not public)

    14:00-18:00 Cross-topic working groups (not public)

    Related Research Projects

    Cyber-physical spaces and avatar technologies: new opportunities for an inclusive society?

    The discourse on the digital transformation in Japan: an analysis based on the concept of data